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Danity Kane, Danity Kane (Bad Boy). The Diddy-assembled vocal quintet that emerged from the dopey yet addictive MTV series Making the Band 3 is custom-made for those who feel the Pussycat Dolls' music is a bit too raw and spontaneous. "Show Stopper" and the rest of these vacuum-sealed ditties proudly trade substance for superficiality, and the slicker the better. Beware the mark of Kane. -- Roberts

DMX, Year of the Dog...Again (Sony). The 21st-century version of Marvin Gaye -- a divided soul who's not ashamed to share his pain or his mistakes -- DMX returns after a three-year hiatus with the grittiest, most complex project (produced by Swizz Beatz, Scott Storch, Dame Grease and the Tuneheadz) since his 1998 debut, It's Dark and Hell Is Hot. -- Christopher Whaley

Bob Seger, Face the Promise (Capitol Records). Bob Seger's first album in eleven years -- easily his best work since 1978's Stranger in Town -- includes duets with Patty Loveless and Kid Rock (yes, Kid Rock). Even after all these years, Seger's still the Motor City's best musical export. You hear that, Mr. Rock? -- Brandon Daviet


Mini reviews

Soulwax, Nite Sessions (Modular Records). Any electronic record that begins with shout-outs to Raging Slab and Guns N' Roses is bound to not follow many rules. Soulwax's Nite Sessions takes the Chemical Brothers' big-beat aspirations and supersedes them by simply melding feedback and cymbal crashes into hard, loud and mangled dance rhythms. -- Sawyer

Hot Mute, Hot Mute (Hot Mute Records). On their self-released full-length debut, Mark Pistel and friends dare you to call them on their shtick. Shamelessly and gleefully copping every well-worn Cars, Queen and Kinks cliche, Hot Mute romps through a set of disingenuous cock-rockers that are twice as shiny as linoleum -- and just as deep. -- Eryc Eyl

Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, Legends of Country Music (Columbia/Legacy). Western swing's greatest popularizer, the late Bob Wills churned out an incredible amount of quick-pickin', fast-fiddlin' music during his lengthy career -- so much that even this generous four-CD boxed set can't contain it all. Still, the likes of "San Antonio Rose," "Roly Poly" and "What Makes Bob Holler" are so joyously danceable that no one's apt to complain. -- Roberts

Yo La Tengo, I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass (Matador). Living up to its feisty, yard-long title, Yo La Tengo's latest is the classic suckerpunch. After all, who expected the band to release a masterpiece two decades into its career? Especially since its last album sounded like a holding pattern following another chill-out record. The title says it all; Afraid is a frontal assault that uses practically every weapon in the rock canon. -- John Schacht


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